Friday, April 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
bviously is you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to my blog it leans a little towards being a lot about design, with a smattering of my thoughts, pop culture, movie and books and food and some religion and politics thrown in on occasion for a little spice. And once in a while I wax on about something random or being a parent.
Design and art are just a hobby for me. I'm actually finishing up school in the next couple of years to be a counselor. And that is truly a passion of mine - helping people to understand themselves a little better - hopefully helping to understand myself a little better and creating lives that are more meaningful, more aware, and over-all happier. It's what I've wanted to do since I was a little girl. Since at least about 12.
But I see my passion for design and interest in architecture, art and home design as an extension of that same thought process. I know they don't seem like the same thing at all. But to me, it's all part of a whole. It's all part of surrounding yourself with good thoughts, things you love, a happy environment, inside and out. Inside your mind and heart, and inside the space you live in.
So I was excited to be able to go on the Phoenix AIA home tour this weekend. There were 11 homes on the tour and we made it to 7 of them. Most of the houses allowed photos - some did not, or only allowed them outside. Somehow, my camera accidentally took some photos inside even when it was not suppose to. ooops. But anyway, here are some of my photos and thoughts on the houses we were able to see. They weren't all my exact taste, but they were all unique and cool in their own way and at the end of the day, it was actually hard to imagine which one would be the coolest to live in.
At the same time, when I came home later that evening, and sat out in my back yard for a while, and even dared to hop in the pool for the first time on Monday (though it was freezing and I quickly hopped right back out!) - I realized, you know, my house is pretty darn cool too. I mean, it's not everything I want it to be yet, and it is still going to take some time to get it there, but it's pretty great in a lot of ways, and it brings me comfort when there are days that nothing else seems to be going right. And it's not because it's huge, or we had a famous architect design it, or it's full of expensive materials and furniture and light fixtures, but because it reflects a peace about who I feel I am, and a piece of who I am at the same time, and more importantly perhaps, what our family has been about. Sometimes it's hard to measure success - life is always a work in progress, and that's how I view my home - a work in progress, just like my life, it still has some areas that need improvement, but it's getting there.
Anyway, on to the AIA house tour:
House number one was in the Arcadia area of Phoenix, I don't know when it was built originally, but it was a remodel of a 60's era ranch style home. I really loved this house. Honestly, of all the houses, this one reminded me most of some things I've tried to accomplish in our own remodeling efforts (though from a very different design aesthetic and without the help of an architect. But I did really love it. With my life and my kids, and considering Phoneix neighborhoods I love, this one probably seemed the most 'homey' to me. The easiest for me to just move in to.
Oh and see that painting down there that features prominently when you walk in the front door and into the dining room? That's a Brian Boner. I felt a little swell of pride that I own 9 Brian Boners. I just adore his art. That particular painting is "Ish" and I loved it when I saw it in the gallery so I also felt a little pang of jealousy. But apparently other people are allowed to own his art work too. I'm not allowed to hog them all.
Okay I love the facade of this fireplace, I would love to do something like this is I ever replace the tile facade on mine.
One thing I really liked about this home was the use of raw and polished materials, the raw concrete and brick - there was a lot of texture going on here. It's a beautiful home and one that would be lovely to live in. It's also for sale if you're interested. I think they said they were asking 1.8 million.
But on to home #2:
One thing that had been done kind of brilliantly here is they had taken that technique where the boulders and small rocks, like river rocks are put inside of basket wire - usually you see that employed here and there as a decorative element, but in this case whole walls of the house from the outside looked like this - here were are looking at the exterior of the master suite which was situated in the back yard and an addition to the house. But the front of the house had this as well. Inside the walls were a thick glass which allowed little bits of light into the room, but gave a few of the rocks from the interior. Very interesting. I couldn't decide if I really love it though. It made the home quite dark inside. Which in Arizona, especially in the summer, would probably cut down quite a bit on cooling costs though. So may be smart from that standpoint.
They had also used these skylights inside the house which were lined with metal - I would LOVE to do something like this in my kitchen someday.
There was a lot of use of rusted metal and rusted metal panels. It was a very interesting home, and I loved some of the ideas. It was very zen inside. But maybe a little too dark for my liking.
On the house #3:
Unfortunately, this was the only thing I really liked about house #3. It was open and airy, but it was on a the top of a narrow lot that looked down on tract homes and golf course. Not my idea of a "view". AND. Not to be rude, but these people had the craziest taste. The artwork was mostly done by the homeowner and it was a menagerie of different styles and genres, none of which seemed cohesive of like they belonged together. Although the house had a big open feel, they just needed a really good decorator and someone who would be honest enough to tell them that all their knick knacks really needed to go. The taste level was....sort of abysmal. But this pool, hanging on the edge of the cliff was cool.
This home was so cool because it would literally be as though you LIVED IN THE DESERT. The house was designed with so much glass and nestled right up into the side of the mountain, from everywhere inside the house, you could really see outside. And they had a private drive up the mountain from all the houses in the neighborhood, so you really had no close neighbors. It was pretty amazing. The wife was a psychotherapist and the husband was a wood artist and made these wood turned bowls and vases. I don't know which one of them made all the money, but this was definitely a very expensive endeavor. The photos really don't do it justice, everywhere you looked, from almost every room, they had thought of another way to bring the outdoors inside and provide views from every room.
Of all the houses, this one would probably have been the most FUN to live in. What an experience. I'm sure you'd encounter coyotes, mountain lions, rattle snakes and a fair share of scorpions as well, but it would be really cool.
This house represents a sort of design aesthetic that I really, really adore. The only problem is that somehow it seems hard to pull off. It's that very clean lines, spare thing, that looks super cool, but I think I'm not disciplined enough to really live like that. But I did LOVE it. Most of the walls were a stark white with these pops of really bright color. Which is kind of what we were thinking about when we did our back yard and then we just ended up going with lots of bright color with the metal and wood and it ended up going in a slightly mexican frontier meets modern - which I like a lot. But this house was modern down to every detail. You could tell from the comments of those touring the house you either loved it or you hated it. I loved it, but I'm not sure how "liveable" it really was.
Don't you have to kind of love it? See those paintings on that bright green wall? That bright green is what I'm trying to work up the nerve to do. Also, one of those paintings is a Melanie Corradi (I'm pretty sure - there was no visible signature) and Kirk and I bought one of those too which he now has at his place. So you know, I felt that was further evidence of good taste in our art purchases. :)
House #6: This one made AIA home of the year, and you really were only allowed to take photos outside.
This home was built on a cool site into the landscape of Mummy Mountain. It's hard to tell from the outside just how cool it really is. It's all mostly metal on the exterior with lost of glass. Then somehow some crazy person got a hold of my camera and took a few photos inside:
I fell so much in love with this painting. OHHHHH how I loved it. Another cool little fact, but which the crazy person taking photos inside without permission, with the owners and the architect mere feet away, did not get a photo of, was a sculpture by David Adix, which is something we also have in our house. Do I sound like I am bragging? It just made me feel like I "hmmm....maybe I really do know what I am doing when I am picking out this art work that I love".
This bathroom was AMAZING. I just loved it.
Honestly, even though house number 7 hung off the back side of Camelback Mountain, which is a pretty cool place to live, it kind of paled in comparison to some of the other homes. Or maybe I was just underwhelmed by the time I got to this last home on the tour. But it did have some cool features. It has a wine cellar that was really interesting and amazing with a stained glass panel hanging inside - to door to the cellar was clear glass so it featured prominently in the kitchen/pantry area slightly off the entrance to the house. It also had nanna doors which faced the patch of grass in the back off the master bedroom and the family room, so that on days when it would be comfortable to do so, you could open the entire back wall of the house and have it become a complete indoor/outdoor feel.
It was fun, and very inspiring!